What factors affect mobile signal?

One key feature of the Strike Alpha Cradle is to boost mobile phone reception. To what extent the Strike Alpha Cradle does this, means considering the many factors that affect mobile phone reception.

  • Distance and Direction of the nearest mobile phone tower. You must be within the range of a mobile phone tower and the range can vary depending on the transmission power of the tower as well as the transmission power of the mobile phone. Therefore, different phones can have vastly different call qualities.

  • Transmission Power. The transmission power of the phone tower is always greater than the transmission power of the phone which could mean that you have 5 bars on your phone, yet you are unable to carry on a conversation. In this case, you may be able to receive but unable to transmit leading to poor call quality.

  • Network Congestion. Busy towers will drop calls and diminish quality as towers have a finite amount of capacity.

  • Environment. Geography can affect coverage; a signal that has a direct line of sight with a cell tower will be stronger than a signal obstructed by mountains, buildings, trees etc. Even the time of year can affect reception; in summer, there can be more foliage on trees than in winter, which can decrease signal. Some materials signals can pass through. Others impeded signal greatly. Even wind direction can affect signal quality.

  • Obstructions. Factors such as terrain type, atmospheric conditions, cloud cover, man-made obstacles, and dense trees can also affect phone signal. Radio signals repeatedly bouncing off obstacles create a multipath, decreasing mobile coverage. Sometimes parts of a vehicle, such as a roof and pillars, may cause phones to dropout more inside your car than when you’re standing outside.

  • Gain. Antenna gain measures the transmission power in the direction of peak radiation to that of an isotropic source. An antenna with a gain of 3 dBi means that the power received far from the antenna will be 3 dBi higher (twice as much) than what would be received from a lossless isotropic antenna with the same input power. The higher the dBi the better the antenna is.

  • Efficiency. The efficiency of an antenna relates to the power delivered to the antenna and the power radiated or dissipated within the antenna. A high efficiency antenna has most of the power present at the antenna's input radiated away; whereas, a low efficiency antenna has most of the power absorbed as losses within the antenna or reflected away due to impedance mismatch. The higher the percentage of the efficiency the better the antenna is.